Horseman’s Health: Healthy Aging – Diet

By guest contributor Barb Swanson
(author of Beyond Foods: The Handbook of Functional Nutrition)

Madalyn with horse

This is part 3 of 3 of this newsletter series contributed by Barb Swanson about healthy aging. There will be a bit of science and a few great hacks to help us all age as well as possible. If you missed the first two articles in the series, you can find them here.
How Emotional Health Impacts Aging
Healthy Aging: Exercise

NOTE from Barb: I want to thank Hannah Ineson for creating these newsletters with me. Her help was essential and she is always a fount of great health information and tips!

Functional Health
We look at the the aging process through the lens of how our body is built to function. We believe our body is a whole, and that each part works with and is dependent on the rest. Three major areas that affect healthy aging are:
· Emotional Health
· Exercise
· Diet

This last newsletter in this series focuses on how diet impacts aging.

Science shows that a more plant-based diet is a great move towards healthy aging. Eating less meat, less often; choosing higher quality meats such as organic, or wild-caught fish, is healthier for the planet, and for most people.

However, not all plant-based foods are the same.
The real health killer isn’t meat. It is foods processed with high heat and/or solvents, with additives like trans fats, highly processed fats, sugars and salt. Most pre-packaged foods also contain chemical flavorings, preservatives and synthetic colorants. Several currently popular plant-based meat substitutes are guilty of one or even all the above.

More important than a plant-based diet, to create good health, is making sure your foods are micronutrient rich. Macronutrients are protein, fats and carbohydrates. Most ‘diets’ focus on varying amounts of these foods. While you absolutely want to balance them, their healthy benefits come from the micronutrients they contain. Micronutrients are nutrients that are valuable in minute amounts. They include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids plus hundreds of other nutrients, such as antioxidants. Examples include pigments like carotenoids (a deficiency can lead to skeletal muscle loss) and minerals like selenium (linked to healthy metabolism). Low Vitamin D causes many problems including back pain.


Healthy Aging – Diet Hacks
To boost your diet:

Add fresh fruit daily. Every whole piece of fruit is loaded with multiple micronutrients, including antioxidants, minerals and fiber. They satisfy a sweet tooth with a nutrient boost.

Eat enough good fats. Whole food sources include nuts, seeds, coconut butter and oily fish. They support your brain and heart health.

Add a nutrient whole-food supplement. A wild-source organic whole food supplement such as AFA blue green algae has been a safe, cost effective choice for over 30 years.

Feel grateful.
Walk, dance or run.
Add in a healthier diet overall, and you will discover the joys of healthier aging.

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